THON Set-Up is Well Underway at Bryce Jordan Center
Penn State students are in the final stages of preparation before a 46-hour dance marathon gets underway to raise funds for pediatric cancer research and treatment.
Dana Giacobello, THON spokesperson, says organizers arrived to the Bryce Jordan Center at 4 a.m. Friday to start setting up for the event. As of Friday afternoon, Giacobello says the crew finished setting up the stage and lighting system and was ahead of schedule.
THON kicks off at 6 p.m. Friday.
Left on the "to do" list Friday afternoon was laying down mats to protect the arena floor and provide a sterile environment for the children the event supports.
"All of that is in the process of being completed and so everything is going really well," says Giacobello. "It's all coming to fruition after working for almost a year, so we're really excited."
The event includes 15,000 volunteers with tens of thousands of spectators supporting the Four Diamonds Families and 708 dancers who cannot sit or sleep for 46-hours straight.
Penn State's THON, now a massive dance marathon, was first organized in 1973 by Penn State's Interfraternity Council President Bill Lear. Roughly 39 couples danced for up to 30 hours inside a ballroom at the HUB-Robeson Center, the student union center. The event raised more than $2,000 for the Butler County Association for Retarded Children.
Today, THON is the largest student-run philanthropy in the world.
The event raises funds for pediatric cancer treatment and research through the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital. Last year, THON donated $12.3 million to Four Diamonds. In all, THON has raised more than $101 million for the fund.
Independent dancers, who must raise a minimum of $2,800, receive a ticket in the dancer lottery with additional tickets available if more money is raised. Dancers are then randomly selected.